How to come up with innovative solutions to difficult problems

Your first thought on a subject is usually how everyone thinks about the subject. Original ideas need more thinking #HoskWisdom

There is instragram post from MungerWorld has a powerful thought

Imitation is at the root of all behaviour

Our decisions are often our first idea, often someone else’s idea. We do what we have always done. If you don’t stop to think, you just keep doing the same thing without thinking if it’s the best thing to do

The first idea is a reaction or our brain giving us a quick answer biased on a bias or on popular opinion. A quick answer is to give the answer we heard or read before, we use this answer without stopping to think if the answer is correct, why is it correct or is there a better way, do I need to solve this problem at all.

Most copy, some modify and few create #HoskWisdom

We copying ideas is the easy option because we avoid thinking for ourselves, it’s the safe choice of following other’s thoughts and siding with the majority, it’s less risky to follow the crowd.

The problem with imitating and using existing solutions is we limit our results on previous ideas. We create the same solution or iterate a solution, we won’t create innovative solutions.

The first idea is a reaction or our brain giving us a quick answer biased on a bias or on popular opinion. A quick answer is to give the answer we heard or read before, we use this answer without stopping to think if the answer is correct, why is it correct or is there a better way, do I need to solve this problem at all.

Robert Cialdini has good quotes this article

“We seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something we don’t.”
“Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.”

First Principles

First principles offers a method to understand the question and analyse the problem first before you work on the solution. First principles breaks down problems to it’s component parts and looking for answers based on the desired goal and the inputs but not being influenced by what is already done.

Examples of first principle in action

Elon Musk creating Electric cars is a good examle of using first principles to creating an innovative soluiton.

The common approach is to iterate and create a more efficient petrol car. Musk looked at the goal of creating a car, understood cars need energy to run, the most efficient way to create energy is in a power plant (e.g. power plants create energy more efficiently than cars converting petrol to power).

First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge

A first principle approach involves removing assumptions and being influenced by the past, it’s a new way to look at the problem and can create innovate solutions, unlike existing solutions.

Industries being disrupted by digital evolution is through applying a first principle approach to an industry.

Uber didn’t improve the existing taxi service model, they created a brand new way of calling, scheduling and paying for taxi’s by using mobile phones.

Amazon used the internet to disrupt book selling, they didn’t create bigger or better bookshops; they created 1 bookshop on the internet.

To learn more about first principle thinking and Elon Musk read the glorious Wait But why look into it

The Cook and the Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce

If you prefer watching rather than reading

Thinking about thinking: check your mental jenga | Andrew Smyth

Out of the box thinking is an in the box nonsense term used by numpties who don’t know what the box is and never had a thought stray out of it #HoskWisdom

Further reading